North American box art
|Genre(s)||Light gun shooter, First Person Shooter, Hunting Simulator|
|Media/distribution||192-kilobit ROM cartridge|
Duck Hunt (ダックハント Dakku Hanto ) is a light gun shooter video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) video game console. The game was first released in Japan on April 21, 1984. It was released on October 18, 1985 in North America as a launch game for the NES, and on August 15, 1987 in Europe.
In Duck Hunt, players use the NES Zapper to shoot ducks that appear on the television screen. The ducks appear one or two at a time, and the player is given three shots to shoot them down. The player receives points upon shooting each duck. If the player shoots the required number of ducks in a single round, he will advance to the next round; otherwise, he will receive a game over.
The game was not initially reviewed often, but given mediocre critical praise and positive gamer reaction. Prior to the NES version, Nintendo also made a Duck Hunt game based on Laser Clay Shooting System released in 1976. The game would later be a pack-in game, being a dual game pack with this game and Super Mario Bros., and later a triple game with the same two games plus World Class Track Meet.
Duck Hunt is a shooter game in which the objective is to shoot moving targets on the television screen in mid-flight. The game is played from a first-person perspective and requires the NES Zapper light gun, which the player aims and fires at the screen. Each round consists of a total of ten targets to shoot. Depending on the game mode the player selects prior to beginning play, one or two targets will appear on the screen at any given time and the player has three shots, or attempts, to hit them before they disappear.
The player is required to successfully shoot a minimum number of targets in order to advance to the next round; failure will result in a game over. The difficulty increases as the player advances to higher rounds; targets will move faster and the minimum number of targets to shoot will increase. The player receives points upon shooting a target and will also receive bonus points for shooting all ten targets in a single round. Duck Hunt keeps track of the players' highest score for all games played in a single session; it is lost, however, upon shutting the game off.
Duck Hunt has three different game modes to choose from. In "Game A" and "Game B", the targets are flying ducks in a woodland area, and in "Game C" the targets are clay pigeons that are fired away from the player's perspective into the distance. In "Game A", one duck will appear on the screen at a time while in "Game B" two ducks will appear at a time. "Game A" allows a second player to control the movement of the flying ducks by using a normal gamepad. The gameplay starts at Round 1 and may continue up to Round 99. If the player manages to complete Round 99, he will advance to Round 0, which is a kill screen where the game behaves erratically, such as targets that move haphazardly or don't appear at all, and eventually leads to a game over.
Vs. Duck Hunt 
Duck Hunt was also released as an arcade game in the Nintendo Vs. series in 1984 as Vs. Duck Hunt, and is included in the PlayChoice-10 arcade console. Two guns are now allowed, although the game cycles between Game B and C, with slightly smaller targets. After every two rounds, there is a bonus stage.
During bonus stages in Vs. Duck Hunt, the dog jumps out from the grass as a distraction to players as they try to shoot ducks, thus putting himself in the line of fire and enabling a player to inadvertently shoot him. If he is shot, the bonus round ends.
Nintendo Research & Development 1 developed both Duck Hunt and the NES Zapper. The game was supervised by Takehiro Izushi, and was produced by Gunpei Yokoi. The music was composed by Hirokazu Tanaka, who did music for several other Nintendo games at the time. The game's music was represented in the classic games medley on the Video Games Live concert tour. Designer Hiroji Kiyotake created the graphics and characters.
Duck Hunt has been placed in several combination ROM cartridges. In the Action Set configuration of the NES in the late 1980s, Duck Hunt was included with Super Mario Bros.. This particular cartridge is found very often in the United States, due to it being included with the purchase of a NES. A Power Set was also available, which included the Action Set, the Power Pad and a 3-in-1 cartridge that included Duck Hunt, World Class Track Meet and Super Mario Bros.
Allgame called the game an "attractive but repetitive target shooter" and "utterly mindless... the game is fun for a short time, but gets old after a few rounds of play." Several user groups have rated the game positively. 1UP.com users gave it an 8.7 out of 10, and the GameSpot community gave the Mario-Duck Hunt package a 9.1 out of 10. It was rated the 150th best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games list. IGN also placed the game at number 77 on its "Top 100 NES Games of All Time" feature. A remake homage to Duck Hunt appeared in Wii Play in the form of its Shooting Range minigame which features ducks and clay pigeons as targets.
Duck Hunt features a nameless non-playable hunting dog (often referred to by the media as the "Duck Hunt Dog" or the "Laughing Dog") that accompanies the player in the "Game A" and "Game B" modes who provokes and retrieves the fallen ducks. The dog is infamous and iconic for laughing at the player whenever the player fails to shoot any of the ducks on screen. The Laughing Dog has been labelled as "one of the most annoying video game characters ever" by numerous gaming critics and journalists, including IGN, GamesRadar, and ScrewAttack, and many have expressed the desire to be able to shoot the dog. Both IGN and Nintendo Power have referred to the Laughing Dog as something players "love to hate." The Laughing Dog's perceived "smugness" has helped him appear on several "best of" lists. In their lists for "Top 10 Video Game Dogs," 1UP.com placed the dog seventh, praising the dog's confidence for "laughing at a frustrated human with a loaded rifle," while GameSpy placed the dog in tenth. GameDaily and Official Nintendo Magazine have included the dog in their "Greatest Video Game Moments" lists. Brian Crecente of Kotaku listed him as one of his favorite video game dogs, stating that the dog's art style and attitude reminded him of Fred Avery cartoons from the 1940s. Video game developer Mastiff referenced the Laughing Dog in promoting their video game Remington Great American Bird Hunt, stating that Rockford, a dog in the game, will never laugh at players for missing the ducks.
UGO.com listed the ability to kill the dog as one of the best video game urban legends, stating that it is one of the few video game urban legends based in actual truth, since players could shoot the dog in the arcade Vs. Duck Hunt. The dog makes a cameo appearance in the NES game Barker Bill's Trick Shooting (another Zapper game) and he can be shot.
See also 
- "Discography". Sporadic Vacuum. Tanaka, Hirokazu. Archived from the original on June 1, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
- "retrodiary: 1 April – 28 April". Retro Gamer (Bournemouth: Imagine Publishing) (88): 17. April 2011. ISSN 1742-3155. OCLC 489477015.
- "Duck Hunt Overview". Allgame. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- "Duck Hunt". GameSpot. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- Nintendo Duck Hunt (1976)
- "'Duck Hunt'". NinDB. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- "Duck Hunt Cheats". IGN. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- "Top 100 NES/Famicom Games List #100-90". Retro and Contemporary Gaming Archives. 2011-08-17.
- Duck Hunt at Arcade Vault. Retrieved November 21, 2006.
- "PlayChoice History". Playchoice. Archived from the original on 2006-12-10. Retrieved 2006-11-21.
- "Pioneers of the Renaissance". N-Sider. Retrieved 2006-12-11.
- "The Ground Breaking Video Games Live Hits UK Shores". Video Games Live. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
- "We Were Drawing Pixel Art With A Famicom Controller". Famicom Disk System: The More You Play It, the More You'll Want to Play! [Disk 1]. Metroid Database. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
- "Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt". Console Classix. Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2006-11-25.
- "3 in 1 Cartridge". amazon.com. Retrieved 2006-11-25.
- "Duck Hunt". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2006-11-20.
- "NP Top 200". Nintendo Power 200. February 2006. pp. 58–66
- "Top 100 NES Games of All Time". IGN. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
- Pirrello, Phil (2008-06-23). "ACD: Duck Hunt Dog - Stars Feature at IGN". Stars.ign.com. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- "The 12 most annoying sidekicks EVER". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- "Screwattack's Top 10 douchebags in gaming". screwattack.com. Archived from the original on 2010-07-24. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
- Video Game Bible, 1985-2002 - Google Books. Books.google.com. 2004-01-16. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- Buffa, Chris (2009-05-04). "Gallery and Images". GameDaily. Archived from the original on 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- "National Dog Day: The Top 10 Dogs in Gaming - Page 1". GameSpy. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- "And The Award For Greatest Video Game Canine Goes To...". MTV Multiplayer. March 7, 2008.
- Thomas, Lucas M. (2007-10-05). "Smash It Up! - The Animal Kingdom - Wii Feature at IGN". Wii.ign.com. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- Nintendo Power 250th issue!. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2010. p. 50.
- Mackey, Bob. "Top 10 Video Game Dogs from 1UP.com". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
- Workman, Robert (2008-12-12). "Gallery and Images". GameDaily. Archived from the original on 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- "Nintendo Feature: 50 Greatest Nintendo Moments: 10-1". Official Nintendo Magazine. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- "Mastiff Rights The Wrongs Of Duck Hunt Dog". Kotaku.com. 2009-11-18. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
- Plante, Chris (2009-06-26). "Kill the Dog in Duck Hunt". UGO.com. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
- "Video Game Cameos & References". Video Game Cameos & References Database. Retrieved 2006-11-21.